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2023 La Grande Lit Week

The 2nd Annual La Grande Lit Week

July 17-22, 2023

Update: Due to mid-afternoon heat concerns, the events scheduled

between 3:45-5:45 pm on July 22 at hq have been shifted.

Please see updated schedule below.

Free literary readings and conversations,

showcasing our great downtown

Daily one-hour classes led by Lit Week authors for just $20

(click here for registration; full class descriptions available here)

The La Grande Lit Week is a project of the Eastern Oregon University MFA Program in Creative Writing, bringing together faculty and visiting writers during its annual residency for seven days of literary events in Northeastern Oregon on the I-84 corridor. The line up features winners of the Oregon Book Awards, the Washington State Book Awards, and the Pacific Northwest Book Awards, as well as authors touring new or recent books. Most of the featured authors will be in conversation with EOU MFA faculty after their readings. Please see the full schedule below.

We give thanks to our partners and sponsors. In 2022, the Union County Chamber of Commerce provided a helpful seed grant for the inaugural La Grande Lit Week. Other partners include Fishtrap, JaxDog Café and Books, Liberty Theatre Cafe, Side A Brewery, Cook Memorial Library, La Grande Parks and Recreation, hq, The Local, Elgin Opera House, and Art Center East. And all thanks to our students and faculty who are our biggest supporters.

We also humbly acknowledge the original inhabitants of the land that La Grande and EOU are upon: the Cayuse, Umatilla, Walla Walla, and Nez Perce people. We celebrate their traditions, languages, and stories. We acknowledge their continuing connection to this land, water, and community and pay our respects to these original stewards of northeastern Oregon.

All readings and conversations are free and open to the public. For those interested in honing their own writing craft, one-hour “community classes” will be offered by Lit Week writers on special topics. Registration for each class is $20. Classes will be held in Badgley Hall on the EOU campus. Click here for registration. Further questions may be directed to Nick Neely, Assistant Professor of English/Writing, nneely@eou.edu.

2023 La Grande Lit Week Schedule

Monday, July 17

6:30 pm, Cook Memorial Library, 2006 4th St

Michelle Nijhuis is an award-winning science journalist and the author of Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in the Age Extinction. She’ll be in conversation with MFA faculty member Kathryn Miles, whose most recent book is Trailed: One Woman’s Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders.

Wednesday, July 19

6:30 pm, Market Place Fresh Foods (rooftop), 1912 Fourth St

EOU MFA faculty reading featuring Megan Kruse, Melissa Matthewson, and Joe Wilkins.

7:30 pm, Market Place Fresh Foods (rooftop)

Eileen Garvin is the author most recently of the bestselling novel The Music of Bees, which is set in Hood River where she lives, and the memoir How to Be a Sister. She’ll be in conversation with MFA faculty member Claire Boyles, author of Site Fidelity.

Friday, July 21

12:45-3:45, Badgley Hall, EOU, One University Blvd

One-hour community classes offered by Sindya Bhanoo, John Daniel, Jessica Gigot and others. Registration required.

4 pm, Loso Hall Lobby, EOU

Kathleen Flenniken, Jessica Gigot, and John Daniel. Flenniken’s most recent poetry collection is Post Romantic; she is a winner of a Washington State Book Award and the state’s former poet laureate. Gigot’s latest book is the essay collection A Little Bit of Land, and her second book of poems, Feeding Hour, won a Nautilus Award and was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. Daniel is the winner of three Oregon Book Awards in poetry and nonfiction; his latest book of poetry is Lighted Distances: Four Seasons on Goodlow Rim and his previous book is the novel Gifted.

7 pm, The Local, 1508 Adams Ave

Sindya Bhanoo is a journalist and the author of the story collection Seeking Fortune Elsewhere, winner of the 2023 Oregon Book Award for Fiction and the New American Voices Award. She’ll be in conversation with EOU MFA faculty member Megan Kruse, author of Call Me Home.

8 pm, The Local

EOU MFA Alumni Reading

Saturday, July 22

9 am-12 pm, Badgley Hall, EOU

One-hour community classes taught by Garrett Hongo, Kathleen Flenniken, Emme Lund, and others. Registration required.

1:15 pm, Schwarz Theatre (Loso Hall), EOU

MFA student thesis readings: Gabriel Boehmer, Christen Careaga, Rebecca DeLore, Christopher Densmore, Jensen Heike, Patsy Lally, Becky Murray, Gregory Rawlins, and Kasey Zmrhal.

Followed by the MFA program graduation ceremony.

4:45 pm, hq 3 pm, Schwarz Theatre

Garrett Hongo is the author most recently of the memoir The Perfect Sound and is a previous finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry. He’ll be in conversation with EOU MFA faculty member Christopher Kondrich, author of Valuing: Poems, a winner of the National Poetry Series.

Followed by Hongo’s playlist related to The Perfect Sound.

3:45 7 pm, hq, 112 Depot Street

A group reading from Cascadia Field Guide, featuring poets and writers John Daniel, Kathleen Flenniken, Garrett Hongo, Nick Neely, Dao Strom, and Joe Wilkins.

7 8 pm, hq, 112 Depot Street

Emme Lund is the author of the novel The Boy with a Bird in His Chest, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award in Fiction and a Pacific Northwest Book Award, and longlisted for The Center for Fiction 2022 First Novel Prize. She lives in Portland. She’ll be in conversation with EOU MFA faculty member Molly Reid, author of The Rapture Index: A Suburban Bestiary.

8:15 9 pm, hq

To conclude Lit Week, a visual-audio-poetry performance by Dao Strom, author of Instrument which won the 2022 Oregon Book Award in Poetry.